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Tax Insights

The 2019-20 Federal Budget was brought forward from May to 2 April with the unabashed motive of improving the Coalition’s election prospects in May 2019.  Roy Morgan’s February 2019 poll puts the ALP at 52.5% and the Coalition at 47.5% of the two party preferred vote.

The question remains - has the 2019-20 Budget done enough to turn around the Government's sentiment in the electorate and bridge the gap held by the Opposition?

View Federal Budget Coverage >>


Working holiday maker or Australian Tax Discrimination?

18 November 2019
On 30 October 2019, the Federal Court handed down judgment in Addy v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 1768.

Screws tightened on the taxation of Testamentary Trusts

6 November 2019
Testamentary Trusts (trusts created under the effect of a will) have provided both control and tax advantages for many years.

'Exempt' Motor Vehicles Caught Under Fringe Benefits Tax

25 October 2019
Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) arises when an employer provides a benefit to an employee (including Directors) in place of salary or wages and may include the provision of a benefit to an employee’s associate.  

Farmers set to lose tax deductions for vacant land

22 October 2019
Farmers are set to lose tax deductions for vacant land – despite calls to Government to change the proposed legislation. The Government provided assurances “…farmers will be fully protected from any unintended consequences of the bill”. 

Reportable Tax Position (RTP) Schedule for Private Companies Delayed

22 October 2019
After a brief consultation period on the expansion of the Reportable Tax Position (RTP) Schedule to include private companies, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has deferred the commencement of these measures until the 2021 financial year.

The Harding Case | Australia individual tax residency rules

7 October 2019
Australia’s individual tax residency rules have been a subject of debate for many years, with numerous calls for change.

Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty - A case of deja vu

24 September 2019
On Wednesday 18 September 2019, the Assistant Treasurer, Mr. Michael Sukkar, introduced an unexpected but welcome Bill to the House of Representatives. 

Simplified Transfer Pricing Record Keeping (STPRK) options for loan

18 September 2019
On 11 September 2019, the ATO released an update to Practical Compliance Guideline (“PCG”) 2017/2, in respect of Simplified Transfer Pricing Record Keeping (“STPRK”) options for lower-risk transactions.

Glencore prevails over ATO in transfer pricing dispute – appeal likely to follow

10 September 2019
On 3 September 2019, the Federal Court (at first instance) found in favour of Glencore in its transfer pricing dispute with the ATO, regarding the pricing of copper concentrate supplied by Glencore’s Australian group to its Swiss parent.

Negative Gearing of Vacant Land - is this the beginning of the end?

6 September 2019
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 was introduced to Parliament on 24 July 2019. One significant measure of the Bill is the introduction of proposed legislation to limit deductions for losses or outgoings incurred in relation to holding vacant land.

Accounting for the R&D Tax Incentive

15 August 2019
The R&D Tax Incentive has been in place since 2011.  However, uncertainty remains over the appropriate accounting treatment for it in financial statements.  Ralph Martin, RSM’s National Technical Director, considers the matter:

The Moreton Resources Case - R&D tax incentive in Australia

6 August 2019
The Moreton Resources Case – Finally certainty amongst the uncertainty for the R&D tax incentive in Australia, but only if you know how to find it.  

SimBT Tax Losses - Similar but not Simpler

10 July 2019
Similar business test

Tax time for individuals

2 July 2019
With tax time fast approaching, no doubt there are many individual taxpayers eagerly counting down the days until they can lodge their 2019 Income Tax Return and hopefully receive a much-anticipated tax refund.

Instant asset write-off – what can you claim?

17 June 2019
The instant asset write-off is not available for all business assets and determining which assets are eligible may pose a challenge for many small and medium-sized business owners (SME) and their advisers.

What’s on the tax agenda post-election?

5 June 2019
The recent Federal Election saw the Coalition led by Scott Morrison returned to government.  While this means that Labor’s controversial tax policies have been put on ice, it’s time to revisit the government’s tax agenda and what this means for you. 

What to consider when tax planning for EOFY

4 June 2019
With the end of the financial year looming, it’s time to think about your tax planning options before 30 June hits. We’ve curated a list of top things to focus on when organising your tax affairs for year-end, applicable to businesses, primary producers, trusts and individuals.

2019-20 Victorian State budget tax analysis

29 May 2019
Picking up the pieces after an uncertain 18 months After a somewhat surprising Liberal victory at the Federal Election, the state government has released its 2019-20 Victorian State Budget in the shadows of slumping stamp duty revenue and a forecasted reduction in federal financing. 

Will Labor overcomplicate our already complicated tax environment?

7 May 2019
Overwhelmed by the tax rhetoric delivered by the Australian Labor Party (ALP)? You are in the right place. The following commentary breaks down the ALP’s tax implementations and how they impact individuals.  

Australia's hybrid mismatch regime

7 May 2019
In response to recommendations by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (‘OECD’) in Action 2 of it's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (‘BEPS’) initiative in 2015, Australia has now enacted a new hybrid mismatch regime that generally applies to income years commencing on or after 1 January 2019.

2019 Federal Election - Comparison of policies

6 May 2019
Ahead of the federal election on 18 May, we compare the policies impacting small business owners, as announced by the two major parties.

How does being a Significant Global Entity (SGE) affect my Australian tax obligations?

18 April 2019
The introduction of the concept of a significant global entity (SGE) was to increase the transparency of multinationals and was in line with the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiatives.

When similar is sufficient - new hope for deducting company tax losses

12 April 2019
The ability for a company to recoup its prior year tax losses has always been a contentious topic. If a company wishes to recoup its tax losses, it’s required to pass the continuity of ownership test (COT), and failing COT, the same business test (SBT).

Federal opposition shadow budget comparison – Let the campaigning begin!

5 April 2019
With the ‘ink’ barely dry on this week’s Federal Budget and an election looming, it is evident that tax policy and economic management is set to be a major factor as the ‘battle lines’ are drawn. 

2019-20 Federal Budget – an economic view

5 April 2019
The Government’s 2019-20 budget sees a much-heralded return to budget surplus that has given the Treasurer the financial headroom to craft a budget that both appeals to voters as well as providing fiscal stimulus to an economy that could benefit from a bit of a boost to consumer spending.

Proposed Labor negative gearing policies set to compromise the great Australian dream

28 March 2019
If the great Australian dream is the purchase of your very own home, then the ability to negatively gear investment properties is an Australian institution. What will become of the Australian way if the Labor party is brave enough to challenge this iconic status quo?

Uncertainty prevails for taxpayers as election looms

28 March 2019
As the Australian public await a date announcement for the upcoming Federal Election, uncertainty prevails for many taxpayers as they anticipate the outcome of many unenacted and proposed changes to tax legislation.

Fringe Benefits Tax – Tips and Traps for the 2019 FBT year

25 March 2019
With the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) now has access to real-time information about employers and their employees.   If you have employees, the more likely it is you are providing some form of fringe benefit and the higher the risk the ATO will expect to see you lodge a Fringe Benefits Tax (F

Budget "sweeteners" diminished by downside economic risks

22 March 2019
The budget will be an opportunity to provide a suite of sweeteners to voters ahead of the expected May election.

Low wages growth revisited in Federal Budget

22 March 2019
The upcoming Federal budget will once again provide the opportunity for the Federal Government to focus on the future needs of the Australian economy.  

Labor's proposed changes to franking credits

21 March 2019
With a Federal election looming, now is the time to consider the impact of a Labor government and its proposed tax policies on Australian taxpayers. For corporate entities, a key tax change will be Labor’s proposed roll back of refundable imputation credits which was introduced by the Howard government. 

Instant asset write-off to ‘skip the line’ of legislation in the Senate

18 March 2019
Doubt has been raised as to whether the recently announced increase to the Small Business Instant Asset Write-off threshold from $20,000 to $25,000 and effective 29 January 2019 to 30 June 2020 will be passed before the Federal election.  

GST nuances – from the world’s oldest profession to it’s newest

13 March 2019
Almost 20 years on from the introduction of GST in Australia by then-Prime Minister John Howard and who’d have thought that robust deliberation on its application continues.

Tax on sale of family home - proposed government change

5 March 2019
Australian expats who own homes in Australia are not the only ones at risk of paying tax on the former family home under proposed changes to capital gains tax (CGT).

The devil in the detail – have you ‘used’ that mining, quarrying or prospecting right?

4 March 2019
While Australia’s tax system rightly supports resource exploration by allowing deductions for depreciating assets first used in exploration, concerns that the deduction was being misused prompted an integrity approach to support genuine exploration.

Proposed R&D tax changes don't stand up to Senate scrutiny

14 February 2019
The Senate’s Economics Legislation Committee report was tabled on Monday 11 February and in its collective wisdom, the committee has put on hold proposed changes to the research and development (R&D) tax incentive.

ATO broadens Reportable Tax Position lodgement requirements

7 February 2019
In the quiet of the first week of February, as Australia is getting back to work after the holiday period, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced sweeping changes to its Reportable Tax Position (RTP) Schedule criteria. 

Changes to Capital Gains Tax exemption for foreign residents

6 February 2019
Controversial legislation enabling the removal of the capital gains tax (CGT) main residence exemption for foreign residents was originally scheduled for debate in the Senate on 16 October 2018. 

Single Touch Payroll Reporting – Clarity for small employers?

12 December 2018
After considerable delays in the Senate, small employers now have some clarity surrounding the implementation date for Single Touch Payroll reporting (“STP”).  The Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Enterprise Incentives No. 1) Bill 2017 was passed by the Senate on Wednesday 5 December 2018 with a proposed amendment.

How businesses can avoid being caught off-guard by payroll tax

3 December 2018
Following high-profile cases of businesses failing to adequately pay their workers, some of those same businesses are being investigated for failing to pay their state payroll tax.

Bridging the governance gap

28 November 2018
Having worked with companies to implement tax governance frameworks for over 15 years, I’m seeing the first signs that tax governance is truly going mainstream.

Why franchisees have to be proactive when it comes to payroll

26 November 2018
Franchisees usually get a lot of help from franchisors when it comes to marketing, branding, and daily operations. One area where some franchisees seem to be left out in the cold is in managing payroll.

New black economy measures target withholding obligations and tax deductions

21 November 2018
An extra layer of complexity is added for small businesses as new measures to tighten grip on the black economy targets withholding obligations and tax deduction.

Labor party updates policy - implications for negative gearing and CGT

20 November 2018
Implications for negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions

Division 7A or Doomsday

31 October 2018
Treasury Releases Consultation Paper

Satyam Computer Services v ATO: international tax war intensifies

25 October 2018
Satyam Computer Services has returned to the Australian Courts to again contest Australia’s taxing rights over fees paid by Australian customers for IT/technical services performed by Satyam employees based in India.

Integrity approach to small business CGT concessions adds layers of complexity.

15 October 2018
After careful deliberation, the Bill limiting access to the Small Business Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Concessions, Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Integrity and Other Measures), was passed in Parliament on 20 September 2018.

Corporate tax rates – what lies beneath, a set of steak knives perhaps?

12 October 2018
A joint media release by PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announces more changes to corporate tax rates.

Australia takes the next step to taxing the digital economy

11 October 2018
The Australian Treasury released a discussion paper in early October 2018 to inform a consultation about whether, and if so, how Australia could introduce an ‘interim measure’ to tax sectors of the digital economy. 

Understanding the instant asset write-off for farmers and small business

20 September 2018
Australian business owners rejoice – legislation extending the well regarded instant asset write-off program has been passed. 

ATO denies deduction: The case for critical comparisons when establishing precedent

13 September 2018
When landmark ATO cases come to mind there is no doubt that the decision handed down by the High Court in FCT v Myer Emporium Ltd (1987) 18 ATR 693 (Myer) would make the top ten.

What foreign owners of residential property need to know about lodging their annual return

4 September 2018
In late 2017, the Australian Federal Government introduced an annual vacancy fee to be levied on  foreign owners of residential property, where the property is not occupied or generally available on the rental market for at least 6 months in a 12 month period. 

How the PM’s defeat impacts corporate tax rates

24 August 2018
Following the proposal for reduced tax rates for corporate entities in 2016, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan No 2) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was ultimately defeated in the Senate on 23 August 2018 by a vote of 36 to 30. 

Foreign incorporated companies and changes to the tax ruling - What you need to know.

20 August 2018
Most will remember the 2016 High Court ruling in the case of Bywater Investments Limited.

Reduced corporate tax rates - what rate of tax will my company pay?

27 July 2018
While the legislation is transitioning, some have been left confused about the application of reduced corporate tax rates and the details of eligibility criteria during this state of limbo. To provide some clarity, we take a closer look.

Fringe Benefits Tax – ATO finalise their position on private use of vehicles.

18 July 2018
New guidelines for private use exemptions of eligible motor vehicles for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) - ATO says yes to making a quick stop to grab a coffee (as long as it doesn’t add more than 2kms to your trip to work and is infrequent) but no to heading to cricket practice after work. 

R&D Tax Incentive Reform - Call for submissions

4 July 2018
R&D tax reforms, as announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget, are steps closer to implementation with the Treasurer and Minister for Jobs and Innovation releasing draft legislation proposed to enact the changes. 

New GST withholding rules - what property purchasers and developers need to know

24 May 2018
The Federal Government has passed legislation that will require purchasers of new residential properties to remit the GST directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as part of settlement. The measures were first announced in last year’s Federal Budget. The legislation specifies: 

Budget falters on R&D tax (and how this impacts startups)

24 May 2018
It’s the third budget handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison and for those of us in the innovation space, a whole lot to digest. After poring over the detail, I’ve created a summary of notable items for your reading pleasure (disclaimer: it’s not all pleasant).

Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive - Get in quick!

15 May 2018
The Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) was replaced by the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) for the 2018 to 2021 years. JMEI applications for the 2019 year must be electronically submitted between 1 June and 30 June 2018.

R&D tax due diligence important for SMSF investors

3 May 2018
With the leading businesses in the world now being technology and intellectual property-based rather than physical asset-based businesses, investors are looking more proactively for early-stage companies that have similar characteristics.

Fringe Benefits Tax  – ATO Focus Areas

24 April 2018
With Fringe Benefits Tax (“FBT”) returns due for lodgement in May, the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) has highlighted common FBT errors that may attract further scrutiny.

Tax Deductibility Inquiry

2 March 2018
Last week the government tabled its response to the recent inquiry of the House of Representative's Standing Committee on Economics regarding tax-deductible expenses.

GST on residential premises - legislation delayed

19 January 2018
The Bill containing the legislation dealing with GST on property transactions will not be introduced into parliament until the autumn parliamentary sittings at the earliest, but it is our understanding that there is no change to the commencement date for the new regime, which remains 1 July 2018.

Fringe Benefits Tax – When is private vehicle use exempt?

19 December 2017
ATO releases draft guidelines to assist employers determining Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemptions for employee’s private use of vehicles.  The draft Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG) considers FBT exemptions often used by employers in respect of utilities, vans and eligible dual cabs.

ATO extends lodgement date for Country-by-Country Reporting

24 November 2017
The Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) announced this week an extension of the due date for lodgement of the Country-by-Country report, master file and local file (collectively “CbCR”), from 31 December 2017 to 15 February 2018 for taxpayers with an income year ended on 31 December 2016.

New GST Legislation released - Developers and Home Builders beware

10 November 2017
On 6 November 2017, Treasury published an Exposure Draft of legislation that will require purchasers of new residential premises and lots in new residential subdivisions to pay an amount equal 1/11th of the

Will passive income affect your entitlement to be taxed at 27.5%?

10 November 2017
The Parliament recently introduced legislation that seeks to tax corporate entities at the full 30% tax rate where more than 80% of the company’s income for the year is base rate passive income.   A recap of the current law

Long-term construction contract ruling | Draft ruling issued

31 October 2017
In 1987, Aretha Franklin finally got the respect she deserved by being the first woman inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Also that same year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released Income Tax Ruling IT 2450 to determine how to return income and recognise expenses on long-term construction contracts.

Is the ATO watching you and you don’t even know it?

19 September 2017
The ATO is always keen to ensure that the tax system is fair and that all Australian taxpayers are paying the right amount of tax on their income.

Western Australian State Budget Announcement

8 September 2017
A budget for Western Australians to be owned by Western Australians. This was the line the State Treasurer used as he released his first State Budget in office.  

ATO focus extended to superannuation guarantee non-compliance

30 August 2017
The Australian Government has announced increased funding for the ATO in order to focus on employer underpayments of compulsory superannuation contributions.  

Corporate Tax Rate reductions and the impact on shareholders

14 August 2017
In the 2016–17 Budget, the Government announced its intention to reduce the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% by the 2026-27 income year.  These changes were outlined in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill and after minor amendments by the Senate, received Royal Assent on 19 May 2017.

Government Crackdown on Rental Property Deductions

21 July 2017
The Government announced in the 2017 Federal Budget that it would be making changes to the legislation regarding Rental Property Deductions under the guise of “reducing pressure on housing affordability”.

Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax

19 July 2017
The Federal Government recently announced changes to the Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding (“FRCGW”) rate and threshold.  The changes will apply to all contracts entered into from 1 July 2017 and include:

OECD releases revised Transfer Pricing Guidelines

17 July 2017
On 10 July 2017, the OECD released its revised OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations  in order to formally incorporate the most significant body of work ever undertaken by the OECD and its member (and indeed some non-member) countries regarding harmful international tax practices – the Base

What are the GST implications of Retentions and Bank Guarantees?

21 June 2017
While there have been no recent changes in this area, it is worth re-visiting as we have had a couple of queries on regarding Retentions and Bank Guarantees.

Seven tax planning tips to help your small business with a 2017 tax plan

7 June 2017
With the end of yet another financial year fast approaching, now is the final chance for small businesses to get their 2017 tax planning in order.

New 12.5 percent withholding tax on property transactions

7 June 2017
To ensure Australia captures as much tax as possible from property transactions a new withholding tax has been introduced and will apply to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2017. Under the new provisions where a foreign resident disposes of:

Signing the Multilateral Instrument

6 June 2017
What happens if you threw a party and the guest of honour did not turn up? The international aspects of the G20/OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project will become a reality at a treaty signing ceremony to be held in Paris, on 7 June 2017. 

Chevron Australia’s transfer pricing fight to go (at least) another round

22 May 2017
Chevron Australia has lodged the necessary paperwork with the Australian High Court registry, to apply for special leave to appeal against the Full Federal Court’s decision, in the long running and ground breaking transfer pricing litigation.

2017/18 Federal Budget - Analysis

19 May 2017
In case you missed the LIVE coverage from Hotel Realm last Wednesday evening, Andrew Sykes from RSM Australia dissects "The Rocky Horror Budget". It was just a jump to the left for Malcolm Turnbull, but still a step to the right with continued attacks on public service pay growth and decentralisation.

ATO releases draft transfer pricing guidance on international related party financing arrangements

17 May 2017
On 16 May 2017, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued in draft form a Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG 2017/D4) outlining its proposed compliance approach to the transfer pricing implications arising from cross border ‘related party financing arrangements’ (RPFAs). 

Federal Budget brings relief for some doctors

16 May 2017
The government was keen to assure Australians that there will be better certainty when it comes to health funding, with the Budget seeing a $10 billion allocation re-invested over four years into the health care system. Unfreezing Medicare Rebates

Australian GST: low value threshold (LVT) changes a step closer

12 May 2017
With a low value threshold (LVT) set at AUD$1,000, Australia has been very much at the ‘generous’ end of the global spectrum of GST-free imported goods, to the benefit of Australian consumers and the chagrin of Australian retailers.

The arguments and the Court's decision

3 May 2017
Australia wins gold in the international transfer pricing games The Commissioner’s arguments The Commissioner made determinations under both Division 13 and Subdivision 815-A, totalling approximately A$340m, based on his view that:

Detailed discussion of the facts

3 May 2017
Australia wins gold in the international transfer pricing games The facts

Australia wins gold in the international transfer pricing games

2 May 2017
Australia has shot to international prominence in the transfer pricing world following the Full Federal Court’s recent decision, dismissing the taxpayer’s appeal against the first instance decision in favour of the Australian Tax Office (ATO): Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCAFC 62

Government announces changes to 457 visa

19 April 2017
Temporary Employer Skilled Migration Programme – 457 visa to be replaced

Fringe Benefits Tax Spotlight

18 April 2017
Customer Loyalty Programs Do you provide employees with a business credit card associated with a customer loyalty program? 

Increase of the Small Business Entity Turnover to $10m

11 April 2017
The Government has announced that it will accept changes made by the Senate to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016. The Bill will likely be passed by the House of Representatives in the next parliamentary session.

Employee or Contractor - Busting the Myths

10 April 2017
Determining whether your worker is an employee or a contractor is a complicated issue and one that in which business owners often make mistakes.

What are the top five tax deductions for rental properties?

7 April 2017
For the many people who own and rent out a residential investment property, here is a list of the top five tax deductions to ensure that you are maximising the tax benefits of investment property ownership. 1.  Depreciation and Capital Works 

Small business tax cuts pass Parliament, but no relief for larger corporates

3 April 2017
On Friday 31 March 2017, following an extended sitting of the Australian Senate, the Government achieved another political victory in the face of the brinksmanship which passes for the current Parliamentary process; a deal was struck with the Senate crossbench to pass a watered down version of the Government’s key economic policy initiative –the reduction of the c

Australia’s Diverted Profits Tax now a reality

28 March 2017
The Bill introducing Australia’s version of the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) completed its passage through the Parliamentary process on Monday, 27 March 2017, and now awaits Royal Assent before becoming law.

Software Based R&D Claims – Uncertainties From ‘Agile Development’

21 March 2017
Recent examples of ‘agile development’ from the R&D Tax Incentive administrator have brought uncertainty to the start-up sector. Taxpayers must be more vigilant than ever in how Software R&D claims are prepared. What Is the R&D Tax Incentive?

Australia broadens the tax ‘resident’ test for foreign incorporated companies

20 March 2017
ATO gets a powerful new weapon, as Australia broadens the tax ‘resident’ test for foreign incorporated companies. ATO issues draft ruling on central management and control (CM&C) of foreign incorporated companies.

Bywater Investments Case Study - Australian tax resident or not?

20 March 2017
Bywater Investments - the case in short 

Payroll Tax - How you can avoid the common errors

20 March 2017
The cash flow impact of not complying with payroll tax reporting Understanding the complex rules surrounding payroll tax can sometimes be difficult to manage. Not planning for your payroll taxes can cause serious consequences for the cash flow of a business  

Deductions for Mining & Petroleum Exploration Expenditure

15 March 2017
The Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) have recently issued Taxation Ruling TR 2017/1 to provide guidance on the application of both section 8-1 and section 40-730 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (“ITAA1997”). 

Are you missing out on tax incentives?

7 March 2017
If you’re the owner of a company that, unbeknown to you, conducts research and development (R&D) which could qualify for tax incentives – to the tune of 45 cents for every dollar spent – now’s the time to explore how much tax money you might be leaving on the table.

ATO alert sparks concern for software development R&D Tax Incentives (TA2017/5)

24 February 2017
The recent alert issued by the ATO (TA2017/5), has raised some fears and concerns among innovators in established technology firms  as well as the start-up community.  

Making sense of eligible Research and Development tax incentives

15 February 2017
Does your company conducts Research & Development (R&D)? Did you know: you may qualify for tax incentives (45 cents per $1 spent!) View our tax concession examples.  

Backpackers Tax explained - employers take note!

23 January 2017
A collective sigh of relief could be heard across the country on 5 December 2016 when the Federal Government finally passed the Working Holiday Maker Reform Bill 2016. 

Payroll Tax and Medical Practices - a Potential Game Changer

16 December 2016
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Winday International Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue has found that radiologists working at an imaging facility were employees of the facility provider for payroll tax purposes under the “employment agent” provisions.

Fuel tax vs road user charge - what has history taught us?

15 December 2016
This a story in two parts. The first is the history of this plan, the second the (longer) history of the Fuel Tax scheme.

15 percent backpacker tax, a win for primary producers

5 December 2016
After waiting 18 months for legislators to reach a sensible conclusion to the highly contentious backpacker tax, a vote for 15 percent in the final hours of the parliamentary year is a major victory for long-suffering Australian farmers.

Australian Diverted Profits Tax - exposure draft released

30 November 2016
On 29 November 2016, the Australian Treasury released an exposure draft of the proposed Australian version of the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT), together with an explanatory memorandum.  The consultation period for the draft legislation closes on 23 December 2016.

International tax reform: Implementation a (large) step closer.

28 November 2016
The ‘how’ and the ‘when’ of international tax reform took a large step forward with the 24 November 2016 release by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of the text, and accompanying explanatory statement to the “Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting”.

Non-resident? Understand the new NSW property taxes that could affect you

21 November 2016
If you are a ‘foreign person’, you may now find yourself subject to two additional surcharges recently introduced in NSW regarding residential land and real estate purchased and owned. The two new surcharges include:

Will you enjoy the summer holidays as much as your team?

21 November 2016
It’s a typical scenario for many business owners.

Fringe Benefits Tax – Simplified Approach to Log-Books

24 October 2016
The ATO have taken steps to lessen the administrative burden for employers with a fleet of more than 20 cars with the release on 19 October 2016 of Practical Compliance Guideline 2016/10.  

Australian GST: Compliance savings for non-residents

12 October 2016
Australia has been hastening slowly to reduce the GST compliance burden on non-residents, and after 6 years of ‘deliberation’, the measures finally came into effect on 1 October 2016.

Tax Insight: Tech Mahindra Ltd - An Equine Trilogy

3 October 2016
When you are on a good thing, stick to it – never look a gift horse in the mouth and never change horses in mid-stream.

R&D cuts, Tax cuts – is it all bad news?

28 September 2016
The reduction in the R&D tax incentive rates and the positive news for SMEs During the 2016 Federal Budget in May, the Government announced a number of potential corporate tax rate cuts over the next 12 years, to progressively reduce the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% for all corporate tax entities ultimately regardless of turnover.

So you think you can restructure?

23 September 2016
The government recently introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016 which will seek to increase the aggregated turnover threshold for access to most small business tax concessions to $10m (previously $2m).

The government’s enterprising tax plan

23 September 2016
The Coalition Government has recently introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016 into Parliament which will increase the aggregated turnover threshold to small business tax concessions from $2m to $10m. 

1.5% Cuts to the R&D Tax Incentive in the Omnibus Bill

21 September 2016
The Omnibus Bill passed by parliament has cut the rates available under the Refundable and Non-Refundable R&D Tax Offsets by 1.5% for the first $100m of eligible expenditure.

R&D's Frequently Asked Questions

27 July 2016
R&D Tax Director Stephen Carroll answers the most frequently asked questions of startups when considering the R&D Tax Incentive.

What is the innovation investment tax incentive?

1 July 2016
RSM's R&D Tax Director Stephen Carroll explains the innovation investment tax incentive for Australian businesses and gives examples of early stage innovation businesses who would benefit from the incentive.

Foreign resident withholding payments

30 June 2016
Do you deal with property?  Are you aware that from 1 July 2016, all property transactions over $2 million in value will require the vendor to withhold 10% of the market value of the property and pay this to the Australian Taxation Office? 

Short, medium, and long term pain ahead for wineries in the Margaret River region as a result of proposed Federal Budget changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)

21 June 2016
A report following a survey of wineries in the Margaret River region in Western Australia (WA) on the proposed Federal Budget changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) has revealed that many in the industry have grave concerns. The survey was commissioned by Wines of Western Australia with the analysis of the results performed by RSM.

Global Business Reaction to BEPS

15 June 2016
Survey reveals impact of BEPS on the middle market. Some have drawn a similarity between OECD’s BEPS (Base Erosion and Project Shifting) project and The Hobbit trilogy, but what exactly is BEPS?

Innovation Investment Tax Incentive

10 June 2016
On 1 July 2016 the Government’s new tax incentive to support innovation investment will come into effect.  The Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Incentives for Innovation) Bill 2016 was passed earlier this year and is a cornerstone of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), released by Prime Minister Turnbull late last year.

Tax planning 2016

26 May 2016
As it is coming close to the end of the financial year, it is again time to review your tax position and consider your end of year tax planning options.

Budget 2016 - Corporate Tax Rates

4 May 2016
Income Year Annual Aggregated Turnover Thresholds Rate 2016/17

Budget 2016 for R&D and Innovation

3 May 2016
The support for innovation in the 2016/17 Budget can be simply summarised as disappointing tinged with relief in a lack of cutbacks. There are only very minor announcements for innovation support through specific focuses, such as $200,000 for FinTech and $2.4 million for Landing Pads in Singapore and Berlin.

Budget 2016 for International Businesses

3 May 2016
Key announcements The Government has announced it will strengthen the anti-avoidance measures for multinationals recently legislated and previously announced in the 2015/16 Federal Budget by introducing the following additional measures:

Budget 2016 for SMEs

3 May 2016
Key announcements Increase in small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million; Increase the unincorporated small business tax discount; Amendment to Division 7A to allow self-correction for inadvertent breaches.

Budget 2016 for Corporations

3 May 2016
Cuts to Company Tax Rate The company tax rate will be reduced to 25% over the next 10 years. The company tax rate will be progressively reduced to 25% between the 2016/17 and 2026/27 income years.

Tax Reform Discussion and a State Income Tax

20 April 2016
This issue deserves some real consideration. Of course, the devil is in the detail (which we haven’t seen yet) but the concepts are worth looking at. The idea of a State Income Tax does not appear out of nowhere, and it is worth looking briefly at the history of this issue.

Corporate interest deductions to be reduced?

19 April 2016
Issue: News leaks that the Government will further reduce interest deductions for multinational groups. Action: Prepare for the worst, but perhaps with a reduced company tax rate to soften the blow?

Taking a bite out of new FBT meal benefit rules

5 April 2016
Are you part of a not-for-profit (NFP) health organisation that offers benefits to its workers in exchange for lower wages? If so, you need to know that the Federal Government has introduced changes to fringe benefit rules from April 1.

Work-related car expenses - a timely reminder

10 March 2016
If you use the log book method to claim a car expense deduction you are required to keep a record of for a minimum continuous period of 12 weeks. There’s less than 16 weeks remaining in this financial year so it’s best if you start recording your trips now.

Australian GST extended to tax foreign B2C digital supplies

22 February 2016
The Government recently introduced a Bill which has significant GST implications for non-Australian businesses interacting with the Australian economy.  The changes are grouped in two categories. 

R&D case strengthens definition of a core activity

12 February 2016
JLSP and Innovation Australia [2016] AATA 23

Tax Reform – Improving the Building Blocks

29 January 2016
Nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and calls for tax reform. When elected in 2013, the Coalition Government promised to deliver a White Paper on tax reform during its first term, which it would use as a tax policy platform to take to the 2016 election.

Significant Global Entities: Country-by-Country Reporting obligations now law

21 December 2015
Royal Assent was given on 11 December 2015 to the ‘Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance’ Act.  The new law:

A review of the Innovation Plan – the hits and misses

9 December 2015
The release of the Federal Government’s Innovation Statement through the National Innovation and Science Agenda came on a day that iron ore and oil prices continued to drop.

Superannuation – a due date that cannot be negotiated

3 December 2015
To the surprise of many employers, missed, or late, superannuation payments can have significant financial and administrative consequences for the business.

BEPS: New Australian Developments

24 November 2015
BEPS Action 2: Board of Tax releases anti-hybrid discussion paper

BEPS: final global sign-off

24 November 2015
G20 Leaders endorsement

Simplified transfer pricing record keeping for SMEs

16 October 2015
Spreading Christmas cheer (with a healthy dose of caution required) 

BEPS project final reports released: OECD calls ‘paradigm shift’

6 October 2015
Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD, released the 2015 BEPS reports during a global webcast on Monday 5 October 2015.  Consisting of 13 Final Reports and an explanatory statement, the package of measures has been adopted by the OECD Ministerial Council, and must now be adopted by the G20 finance ministers (8 Octo

Company taxpayers: are you ready for the public disclosure of your tax data?

4 October 2015
Since tax was first collected, a fundamental feature of tax law has been the unconditional secrecy surrounding taxpayer data. In Australia that position changed in June 2013 when Australia’s tax secrecy laws were amended, directing the ATO to publicly report certain large company tax data.

Multinational anti-avoidance law for real: Australian legislation introduced

21 September 2015
In introducing the ‘Combating multinational tax avoidance’ bill to the Australian Parliament on 16 September 2015, the government has taken another unilateral step in its fight against international base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).  The new bill contains three changes, all of which have been the subject of earlier exposure draft legislation.

Employee or independent contractor?

15 September 2015
Over the past couple of decades there has been a clear shift away from 'traditional employment' and towards people acting as independent contractors. This is particularly so in the building industry.

National Innovation and Science Agenda

12 September 2015
A detailed analysis of what you need to know about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's highly anticipated $1.1 bn innovation strategy The Federal Government has released its much anticipated Innovation Agenda but what does this mean for business and individuals. 

R&D expenditure - is it really incurred?

7 September 2015
Last week, the full federal court in Commissioner of Taxation v Desalination Technology Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 96 overturned the decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the single judge of the federal court in denying the taxpayer a research and development (R&D) deduction for amounts incurred by an associate party on behalf of the taxpayer.

RSM’s response to Vision for a Science Nation: Australia's future

2 September 2015
While the R&D Tax Incentive is one of the effective mechanisms for stimulating innovation in Australia, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competitiveness can be improved by enhancing and developing new incentives to increase Australia’s investment in innovation, according to RSM.

Tax reform 2016: what’s it all about?

13 August 2015
Some in the political media would have us believe Tax Reform 2016 is dead before it starts, and that because Australia currently faces a failure of political leadership – meaningful tax reform is difficult at the best of times, but at present, there simply is not the depth of character, or belief, in Canberra or the state capitals to push through the necessary chan

Australia increases the pressure on multi-national tax avoidance

6 August 2015
On 6 August 2015 several further steps were taken in Australia in the move to generate additional tax from multinational corporations.

Investment vehicles minimise taxes

4 August 2015
Your choice of investment structure can save you a lot on taxes. Available structures include self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), family or unit trusts and companies, as well as holding property individually or in joint names.

The 'Netflix' tax: a wing and a prayer

17 July 2015
A GST integrity measure announced in the recent federal budget seeks to ensure that there is a level playing field for the suppliers of digital products and services in Australia in relation to the GST.

Employee share scheme (ESS) changes

26 June 2015
From 1 July 2015, ESS changes allow taxing points to be deferred and introduce a significant new concession for 'start-up' companies. Tax deferral The maximum period of tax deferral increases from 7 years to 15 years.

Lowdown on tax concessions

10 June 2015
This is the time of the year when farmers get their last chance to reduce any tax liabilities before it is simply too late. With fantastic cattle prices, strong demand for sheep meat and finally wool prices heading north, suddenly livestock producers have a tax problem. Admittedly, grain yields and prices were lower than the previous year, but many farmers sold car

Small businesses instant asset write-off

29 May 2015
Instant write-off for small businesses Small businesses will be able to claim an immediate tax deduction for each asset that costs less than $20,000 (net of GST credits), to the extent the asset is used for tax-deductible purposes. 

Base erosion & profit shifting (BEPS) - Action 7: OECD releases Revised Discussion Draft

18 May 2015
Action 7 of the G20/OECD BEPS Project addresses the artificial avoidance of permanent establishment status.  A Revised Discussion Draft (RDD) was released on 15 May 2015, and will be open for public comment until 12 June 2015.  There will be no further public consultations, and the working party will be asked to finalise its recommendations at a meeting on 22-26 Ju

Australia introduces a 'Google tax' after all

13 May 2015
Snapshot The proposed multinational anti-avoidance tax integrity measure (Australia’s version of the ‘Google tax’) will:

Australia changes horses: drops the ‘Google tax’ option but chases the ‘Starbucks effect’

7 May 2015
It is ‘silly season’ in Australia at present – that twilight period ahead of the release of the annual Federal Budget, scheduled this year for Tuesday, 12 May 2015. The media is, as usual, awash with speculation regarding what is ‘hot’ and what is ‘not’ in the world of tax.

New tax rules for earnout arrangements

24 April 2015
On 23 April 2015, the government released exposure draft legislation to implement the long awaited changes to the treatment of ‘earnout arrangements’ connected with the sale of a CGT asset (typically shares/units in a company/trust, or the sale of business assets).

What is tax planning?

17 April 2015
Often accountants can be heard talking about and encouraging taxation planning to our clients. It is an oft used catchcry in the business world that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, this may well be an accurate statement, but how much taxation planning and strategy is acceptable before you raise the ire of the ATO? 

WA state tax exemption for charitable bodies or organisations

10 April 2015
How will the changes affect your organisation?

International tax update - Australia

9 April 2015
Australia is making plenty of noise on the international tax scene at the moment, which is notable given the current state of global tax turmoil. Of present note:

Tax reform 2015 – a background

30 March 2015
The Abbott Federal Liberal-National Party Coalition Government was elected in September 2013 on a platform of 'economic repair' which included promises to conduct two related white paper processes leading into the next federal election: a white paper on tax reform, and a white paper on the reform of Australia’s Federation.

Exploration development incentive - should mineral explorers opt in or out?

16 March 2015
The Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) was enacted with the passing of the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 7) Act 2014 in March 2015. Mineral explorers will need to determine whether the exploration expenditure they have incurred since 1 July 2014 will qualify for the EDI.

'Stopping multinational tax avoidance': ALP policy launch

16 March 2015
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has outlined proposed measures to combat multinational tax avoidance in a 2 March 2015 policy launch.  The proposed measures expect to raise $1.9bn over three years, and comprise:

Fringe benefits tax – tax tips for year end

16 March 2015
With 31 March just around the corner, many businesses are focusing on ways to reduce their fringe benefits tax (FBT) liability. We have therefore provided the following strategies that may help in reducing FBT.

Practical applications of BEPS Action 13: transfer pricing documentation and country-by-country (CbC) reporting

6 March 2015
The organisation for cconomic co-operation and development launched the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project in September 2013 to develop an action plan to standardize and modernize global tax policy.  This is the second in a series of webcasts offering insight and analysis into how the BEPS initiative might be implemented and the effects of that impleme

OECD to hold public consultation on several transfer pricing related BEPS action points

5 March 2015
On March 19 and 20 the OECD will hold its public consultation on action points 8, 9 and 10 of the base erosion and profit splitting (BEPS) project. Topics on the agenda include:

Payroll tax update for WA

5 March 2015
Payroll tax threshold The Western Australian payroll tax threshold went from $750,000 to $800,000 on 1 July 2014. Plans to raise it to $850,000 have been delayed to 1 July 2016 (at this stage!).

Countdown to tax reform - 2015 Intergenerational Report

5 March 2015
Joe Hockey, Australia’s treasurer, released the 2015 Intergenerational Report (IGR) on Thursday 5 March 2015, and in so doing has taken a step closer to kicking off the stalled tax reform process.

Base erosion & profit shifting (BEPS) - OECD webcast 12 February 2015

12 February 2015
The OECD’s senior tax leadership delivered a rapid-fire 1 hour webinar from Paris on 12 February, 2015.  The presentation provided an update on BEPS development since late 2014, and outlined the (very heavy) 2015 work program as the BEPS project enters its second and final year.

Proposed changes to the taxation of employee share schemes

23 January 2015
Following the release of its Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda in October 2014, the Federal Government has now released exposure draft legislation proposing changes to the income tax treatment of employee share schemes (ESS). The changes are intended to apply from 1 July 2015.

Legislative developments and progress on transfer pricing documentation

14 January 2015
The reformation process of Australia's transfer pricing regime that commenced in November 2011 has continued apace in 2014. 2015 is also likely to be a year of significant change.

Informed and holistic approach needed for GST debate

12 January 2015
The recent debate around the broadening of the GST base to include either fresh food versus private health and private education feels a little like introducing bandaids when major and painful surgery is required.

G20 / OECD BEPS project - the end of the beginning ushers in the beginning of the end game

29 November 2014
On 5 October 2015, the OECD has announced it will release the final package of measures for a co-ordinated international approach to the reform of the global tax system under the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.  
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